Backblaze to Sell Cloud Storage for a Quarter the Price of Amazon S3 and Its Other Competitors

IntroducingBackblazeB2I have written many times about the need for backup services, including an article about Backblaze that I published last week at http://goo.gl/OMHR0Z. I have also written many times about the constantly decreasing costs of online file storage services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Amazon S3, SugarSync, Microsoft OneDrive, SpiderOak, Box, and a number of others. Now I can combine several articles into one: Backblaze has always been known as a method of backing up data files from your computer. Now the company is expanding into file storage (of any kinds of files) and claims to have the lowest prices of any of its competitors. The other file storage services charge 2¢ or more per gigabyte per month. However, Backblaze is pricing its service at just half a cent per gigabyte per month with the first 10 gigabytes free.

NOTE: Online backup services are not the same as file storage services. The two are closely related but have significant differences. Backblaze is now offering two separate services: one for backups and another for file storage.

Backblaze’s online backup service is already cheap at $5/month for unlimited size backups of any one computer. (See my earlier article at http://goo.gl/OMHR0Z for details.) Now the company plans to sell that same cheap storage to anyone who needs a lot of file storage space. Backblaze’s B2 storage costs 0.5¢ per gigabyte per month, with the first 10GB free. Backblaze’s biggest competitor, Amazon S3, charges 2.2¢ per gigabyte per month.

Unlike many other file storage services, Backblaze will only charge for the actual space used. For instance, with many file storage services, you have to pay (in advance) for a specific amount of space, whether you ever use it or not. With many of Backblaze’s competitors, you might sign up for 50 gigabytes of storage space. If you then only use 10 gigabytes, you are paying for an extra 40 gigabytes of (empty) space you are not using. In contrast, Backblaze (and Amazon S3) only charge for the space you actually use. In this example, you would only pay for 10 gigabytes of space, not 50.

As the Backblaze web site at https://www.backblaze.com/b2/cloud-storage.html states, “Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage works similar to Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, allowing you to store unlimited data in the cloud. But does it for 1/4th the cost.”

There are some limits to Backblaze’s new B2 offering. The most obvious difference is that Backblaze has only one data center, in California, unlike Amazon’s multiple data center regions around the world. A California forest fire, earthquake, or other disaster could knock Backblaze’s single data center out of operation while Amazon’s multiple data centers have already proven to be impervious to outages caused by disasters, including the huge Japanese earthquake and tsunami of a few years ago. A few Amazon customers suffered brief outages after that disaster. When the services came back online a very few minutes later, all data was available. Nothing was lost. (Amazon’s Japanese data center did not return to full operation for weeks but Amazon’s customers didn’t know that. Amazon’s servers in other parts of the world took over within a very few minutes, using duplicate copies of all the data they previously backed up from the Japanese data center.)

I often describe the need to keep copies of your important data in two, three, or even more places. The phrase to remember is L.O.C.K.S.S. – Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe. Backblaze’s use of only one data center wouldn’t bother me if I knew that identical copies the same data were available at BackBlaze and also available at home and at two or three other locations. The abrupt loss of data at any one location would then be an inconvenience, not a disaster. I plan to use Backblaze’s new B2 service as the place to save “one more copy” of my files, not as the only copy of my important files.

Backblaze is taking sign-ups now for its beta test, which it will start fulfilling next month. Public availability is planned by the end of the year. You can learn more or even sign up for a spot in the waiting list at https://www.backblaze.com/b2/cloud-storage.html.

2 Comments

Which Amazon back-up service do you recommend. There are several. I need one that covers docs, photos, and 7200 people and lots of data on my Family Tree Maker. Tk you.

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    Amazon offers multiple services to store your files. Prices are cheap if you are an Amazon Prime member. I like Amazon Prime. It is a bit expensive at $99 a year but if you use a number of Amazon services and also order frequently from Amazon (which I do), you will save a lot more than $99 a year. Amazon Prime members get free shipping on most items ordered plus access to free movies, television programs (see https://www.amazon.com/Prime-TV-Shows/b?ie=UTF8&node=7613705011 ), music, and more.

    If you only want to save photos, you can store UNLIMITED photos for in Amazon Cloud Drive for $11.99 a year. See my earlier article at http://goo.gl/DVs4JJ and also Amazon’s description at https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/primephotos for details.

    To store EVERYTHING (photos, files, databases, and more), look at Amazon Cloud Drive that costs $59.99 a year. That’s $5 a month which is a very attractive price for UNLIMITED storage. That isn’t the cheapest online file storage area but it is close to the cheapest. In addition, when combined with other savings in Amazon Prime, it becomes very attractive. Details may be found at https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/home

    If you want to store a lot of music, look at Amazon Music at http://www.amazonmusic.com/ that offers some advantages over normal file storage, such as integrated music players for iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, Windows, Macintosh, and maybe some other devices.

    I use both Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Music and have never had a problem with either one.

    For “heavy duty” file storage and backup services, look at Amazon S3 at http://aws.amazon.com/s3 and at Amazon Glacier at http://aws.amazon.com/glacier/ . However, they are a bit more difficult to set up and make operational. You will also need software from some other company to interface your computer(s) with Amazon S3 and Glacier. You don’t have to be a computer guru but I wouldn’t recommend it to computer novices. Many corporations and non-profits use Amazon S3 and Glacier for backup purposes. It is very reliable.

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